We are not fallen
"So our contact with matter is just like a dream. We are not fallen. Therefore, at any moment we can revive our Krishna consciousness. We become liberated as soon as we understand, "I have nothing to do with matter. I am simply Krishna's eternal servant." Sometimes when a fearful dream becomes intolerable, we break the dream. Similarly, we can break the material connection at any moment as soon as we wake up to Krishna consciousness. "Oh, Krishna is my eternal master. I am His servant." That's all. That is the way."
As I have said in other blogs, my writing is very personal, an extension of my heart and desire to be of help and service to devotees. Not that it is all pure giving to others, but it is also a need I have to express and be creative. So those two purposes intersect here.
I see this as a relationship I have with my readers. I am typing on my keyboard which becomes an extension of my inspiration, and then you sit in front of your computer screen and read it with your mind, and perhaps it gives rise to questions, disagreement, or it could touch you in some way. As Prabhupada described the milk of a cow as its' separated energy or his recorded lectures as his separated energy (to describe how the material world is Krishna separated energy), so the words you are reading are my energy transformed into words which convey my thoughts and feelings.
I am thinking much of the time about what I can share with you that will be both interesting and useful on your progressive march toward Krishna---or for brand now people that you might be inspired to further check out the path. Any spiritual or religious path is demonstrated by the people involved. Example is better than precept.
I am sitting here in my living room before the wood stove and our beautiful Deities. My goal is to write 3 or 4 blogs a week. Since we don't have many bloggers here I feel a responsibility to write. I am torn between writing more conversationally like I am now with more frequency, or taking the time to write more deeply philosophical pieces. I do both of course though I write philosophical blogs more often. It is a matter of what is more beneficial for you, which you will have to let me know.
I wrote a blog that my wife thought would be a good BTG article, so rather then post it here, I worked on it for days to bring it up to that standard. When one submits an article for BTG there is a whole committee that reviews the piece, so that has to be taken into consideration before writing. For blog writing it is far less polished and more spontaneous, and I don't get all the typos or grammatical errors though I do fix them eventually---most anyway.
I was up late reading last night so as a result my whole day is late. It is 11:30AM and I have a lot of things to do today. I am going to try out our new pressure washer to clean the sides of the house, and our son is coming over to finish the solar hot water system. It has a few problems so it has taken him longer then he originally thought. The unexpected is always to be expected!
You are important to me. There is no meaning of a writer without an audience. I told one of my friends that everyone needs to believe in themselves. Unfortunately this devotee has had a very difficult life and doesn't feel they have any value--they considered that to believe in their self would be a lie or fallacy since they were a very bad person and a failure in life.
To various degrees many people feel that way. Why? Because of the harsh messages they heard growing up from parents and peers, because of mistakes they have made, or that they haven't achieved a certain level of material or spiritual perfection. Then we come to K.C and we hear that we fell from the spiritual world and are envious of Krishna. This could only make us feel worse about ourself, as if we are damaged goods. That seems to be the Christian message of original sin.
So why should be believe in our self? There are many therapies to build self esteem, and techniques like using affirmations and developing positive self talk which can be useful for people including devotees if we combine them with a spiritual perspective of our original spiritual self. Our real value comes from the fact that we are part of Krishna who is supremely good. The bad perception we have of our self from our material experience is false---we are not our sad story, or failures or mistakes---at death they will all be finished, and we will be left with our pious or impious activities, or as a devotee with our degree of Krishna consciousness and love for Krishna.
As Prabhupada has said in a number of places, we are not really fallen--this is an illusion. Here are some fascinating quotes on this topic:
So when someone asks, "When did we come into contact with the material nature?" the answer is that we have not come into contact. By the influence of the external energy we think we are in contact. Actually we are not fallen. We cannot be fallen. We have simply created a situation in which we think we are fallen. Actually, Krsna has given us that situation. Because we wanted to imitate Him, Krsna has given us an opportunity: "All right, you want to imitate Me? You want to be an imitation king on the stage? So, feel like this. Play like this. Do like this. People will applaud -- 'Oh, what a very nice king.'"
So everyone in the material world is playing some part. "I want to be prime minister." "I want to be a very big business magnate." "I want to be a leader." "I want to be a philosopher." "I want to be a scientist." They are trying to play all these parts, and Krsna is giving the opportunity -- "All right."
But these things are all nonsense. Simply dreaming. When you dream, the next moment the dream is gone, and everything in the dream is finished. No more tiger, no more jungle. Similarly, as long as the body continues one may think, "I am a responsible leader; I am this; I am that," but as soon as the body is finished, these ideas are gone.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => TQE 2c: The Fall of the Soul
So our contact with matter is just like a dream. We are not fallen. Therefore, at any moment we can revive our Krsna consciousness. We become liberated as soon as we understand, "I have nothing to do with matter. I am simply Krsna's eternal servant." Sometimes when a fearful dream becomes intolerable, we break the dream. Similarly, we can break the material connection at any moment as soon as we wake up to Krsna consciousness. "Oh, Krsna is my eternal master. I am His servant." That's all. That is the way.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => TQE 2c: The Fall of the Soul
I might have been a very big physician, influential physician, having a good practice, but where is [that body now]? All gone. So this situation, our contact with matter, is just like dream. Actually we are not fallen. Therefore, because we are not fallen, at any moment we can revive our Krsna consciousness. As soon as we understand that, "I have nothing to do with. I am simply Krsna's servant. Eternal servant. That's all," immediately he becomes liberated. Exactly like that: as soon as you... Sometimes we do that. When the fearful dreaming becomes too much intolerable, we break the dream. We break the dream when it becomes intolerable. Similarly, we can break this material connection at any moment as soon as we come to the point of Krsna conscious. "Oh, Krsna is my eternal master. I am His servant." That's all. This is the way. Actually we are not fallen. There cannot be any fallen. The same example: Actually there is no tiger; it is dreaming. Similarly, our fallen condition is also dreaming. We are not fallen. We can simply give up that illusory condition at any moment. At any moment. So if you study all these verses very nicely, you get all this knowledge quickly.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.1 -- Tokyo, April 20, 1972
But the simple process is, as soon as you surrender, that you are not fallen, "It was illusion. I was dreaming. I am Krsna's," finished. All gone. "I am Krsna's. I am Krsna's eternal servant. These are all nonsense" -- he immediately becomes liberated. Just try to understand. Immediately, within a second. Liberation can be attained within a second, provided we abide by the order of Krsna. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. This is the position. We are not fallen. We are thinking fallen. So we have to give up this nonsense thinking. Then we are liberated. There is no Is there any difficulty to understand? Just see how important this verse. It is already there, but you are not reading. Each verse, read every day carefully. Try to assimilate, understand, and you will get more profit, every day, hundred yards forward, hundred yards forward, yes. They are so important verses. How nicely composed by Vyasadeva. In two lines the whole thing is explained. This is called sastra. In two lines.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.1 -- Tokyo, April 20, 1972
So everyone has value by their spiritual constitution. Because we are identifying with our body and it's history we may not like our self very much. This self is not our real self or is it's birth, life and story and death etc. Of course this may sound good, yet we still are in material consciousness. That is why in addition to understanding our spiritual true value it is useful for devotees to also understand that their physical life has value in spite of whatever shortcomings and mistakes we have made.
Part of our growth as a devotee and a human being is to practice forgiveness---of others and ourself. We are imperfect and limited, yet with Krishna's help we can gain strength and rise above adversity. We have to determine what things are favorable for our growth and even our career, since most of us work in the world---even if we move into an ashrama we have to see what will be helpful for spiritually advancing in that situation.
From my experience in working with devotees and in my own life, having too low an opinion of our self due to our perceived material shortcomings is another type of attachment---I am a poor victim, and no one can help me, even God. Being down on our self often means we don't see or accept Krishna's help even when it is right in front of us. This type of mentality disqualifies our self in advance from receiving any offered help.
So it is not false to believe in our self. True we have to not think we are great, yet we are part of the Supreme Great. We have to ultimately identify with Krishna, not our false conditioned self and the drama of our life.
Spiritual life is a rebirth, so let us use our perception of the shortcomings of material life as a spring board for taking up spiritual life. Spiritual advancement is the solution to all our so-called problems. Actually there are no problems, only service opportunities. Initiation is a second birth, a spiritual birth. If we don't like our material story we can change it. Our life in the world can be used as our service to Krishna and the devotees.
I will end with Prabhupada's statement from the Bhagavatam [1.2.8.pp] about what spiritual life is:
"Because foolish people have no information of the soul and how it is beyond the purview of the body and mind, they are not satisfied in the performance of their occupational duties. The question of the satisfaction of the self is raised herein. The self is beyond the gross body and subtle mind. He is the potent active principle of the body and mind. Without knowing the need of the dormant soul, one cannot be happy simply with emolument of the body and mind. The body and the mind are but superfluous outer coverings of the spirit soul. The spirit soul's needs must be fulfilled. Simply by cleansing the cage of the bird, one does not satisfy the bird. One must actually know the needs of the bird himself."
"The need of the spirit soul is that he wants to get out of the limited sphere of material bondage and fulfill his desire for complete freedom. He wants to get out of the covered walls of the greater universe. He wants to see the free light and the spirit. That complete freedom is achieved when he meets the complete spirit, the Personality of Godhead. "
"There is a dormant affection for God within everyone; spiritual existence is manifested through the gross body and mind in the form of perverted affection for gross and subtle matter. Therefore we have to engage ourselves in occupational engagements that will evoke our divine consciousness. This is possible only by hearing and chanting the divine activities of the Supreme Lord, and any occupational activity which does not help one to achieve attachment for hearing and chanting the transcendental message of Godhead is said herein to be simply a waste of time. This is because other occupational duties (whatever ism they may belong to) cannot give liberation to the soul."